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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Executive Department

State House Boston, MA 02133

(617) 725-4000











May 2, 2003 CONTACT:

Shawn Feddeman

Nicole St. Peter

(617) 725-4025

Dick Powers

(617) 727-0077





Averts denial of shelter to approximately 450 families


Governor Mitt Romney today signed a $2 million supplemental budget that will prevent hundreds of homeless families from being denied shelter for the remainder of the fiscal year.


“Even in difficult financial times, homeless parents should not have to worry about whether their children are going to have a safe place to sleep,” said Romney. “Our commitment to help them is stronger than ever.”


Romney filed legislation to close the gap in this program earlier this year. He noted that without this funding, the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) would have been forced to deny shelter to all new applicants to the Emergency Assistance Program beginning Monday and estimated that about 450 families would have been affected by the lack of funding.


The program provides shelter to approximately 1,600 families per night.


“This additional funding will allow us to continue serving needy and deserving families who have no place else to turn for help,” said DTA Commissioner John Wagner.


“As we work to close the budget gap, we must continue to focus on delivering the core missions of government, which includes assistance to the homeless,” Romney said.


Three years ago, DTA spent $39 million to shelter homeless families. Romney noted that his proposed budget for next fiscal year calls for nearly $79 million and asked the Legislature to follow suit.


Romney’s Executive Commission on the Coordination of Homeless Services will convene this month and report its findings to the Governor during the summer. He has charged the commission with making recommendations to better coordinate services that will improve access to decent, safe and affordable housing for homeless families and individuals.


“More than a dozen different state agencies have historically applied their own band-aids to the homeless populations they serve,” said Romney. “By integrating their various resources and talents, we must and will develop an infrastructure that reduces reliance upon emergency shelters with increased access to permanent housing.”



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